In a quiet corner of the house, in a dimly lit south-facing room, lays a shadow of a man I once knew. He can’t speak, smile, or motion and he doesn’t really have a lot of range of eye movement from within his partially opened eyes. But…but! I know he hears me.
As I quietly made my way into his room yesterday, it was easy to overlook the IV and the morphine drip, the shelves of medical supplies and the monster hospital bed. All I saw was a frail man propped up in bed with his face naturally angled at the ceiling. I spoke with him and carried on a one sided conversation quite well, but inside I was breaking. My heart was breaking and my spirit ached for this man who always had something to say, a kind word, a strong hug and his gentle, loving eyes that pierced your soul every time.
It’s hard to stay out the room, I am drawn to it. It is so peaceful in there. Quiet, serene, calming. I can’t really describe it and do it justice … like a huge warm blanket that encompasses you completely. The kind of feeling that makes you happy inside, almost glowing. I sat in there yesterday. I don’t know how long it was, I just sat there with him staring into the walls listening to him sleep, his hand enclosed in mine. I had told him he was holding my hand whether he liked it or not. I sat in silence, listening to the oxygen tank buzz, the 1940’s music softly playing from the TV and thinking about all of his stories and words I had heard over the past eight years. I’d be fine and then tears would come to my eyes. But not the tears you would expect, I wasn’t sad, I was at peace. But then the sad tears would come. Why does a man so amazingly brave, generous, strong and so full of chivalry and charisma have to be reduced to this state? It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair and dying isn’t fair either.
We expect his days are very few now. I am deeply saddened, but know he won’t be in any more pain. I worry about my mother-in-law. She is amazing. She works so hard and takes such amazing care of her father, my admiration for her runs so deeply.
What a bitter-sweet time. My little brother-in-law, whom I adore, is to be married on the morning of Thursday to a wonderful young girl that I am getting to know, and just doors down from where I sit is a legend of a man, living out his last few hours. My words will never do my thoughts justice.